Samsung Securities Files Paperwork to Launch A Crypto Exchange

Seven major domestic securities companies in South Korea have filed to launch their own cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. Local newspaper NewsPim reported the new development on Monday.

According to NewsPim, Samsung Securities, Mirae Asset Securities, and five other giant brokerage companies have applied for preliminary approval to operate an exchange within the first-half of 2023.

Mirae Asset Securities Co., Limited is the largest investment bank and stock brokerage company by market capitalization in South Korea, with $648 billion under its management.

As per NewsPim, Mirae has developed a subsidiary under its consultation arm Mirae Consulting to operate the exchange. Mirae is seeking to hire technical staff to research and develop cryptocurrency and other blockchain-based platforms.

Similarly, Samsung Securities is carrying out studies on how best to enter the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Samsung Securities is a South Korea-based wealth management firm that provides a wide range of financial services from brokerage, wealth management and investment advisory services to corporate finance and trading.

According to NewsPim, Samsung Securities tried to spearhead the development of a crypto trading platform last year, though it failed to acquire the necessary talent to do so.

The report said the sudden influx of institutional interest in South Korea was driven by the newly elected President Yoon Suk-Yeol, who took office in May.

President Yoon promised deregulation of the Bitcoin and crypto markets during his recent presidential election campaign trials.

To assist in accomplishing such goals, the report disclosed that South Korea’s Financial Services Commission (FSC), the South Korean government’s top financial regulator, plans to revise the relevant laws for Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and securities.

The regulator intends to push for a Digital Assets Framework Act so that these (Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and securities) can be managed in one regulated framework divided into security-type tokens and non-security-type tokens.

According to NewsPim, the FSC will also examine whether domestic virtual assets are securities.

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South Korea’s Crypto Market Gears up to Legitimacy, With Banks Eyeing a Share of the Cake

With the incoming South Korean President, Yoon Suk-yeol, pledging the easing of crypto regulations, the market is on a solid path to being significantly legitimized, according to local media outlet The Korea Herald.

Local banks in the nation intend to ride the wave because they are seeking authorization to enter the crypto space. Per the report:

“Local banks are currently preparing to submit a request with incoming President Yoon Suk-yeol’s presidential transition committee to allow them to enter the crypto business.”

Through the Korea Federation of Banks, a representative body of commercial banks, the financial institutions asked domestic lenders to evaluate their draft of dealing with crypto. The banks raised concerns that the crypto market in the country could be monopolized because a “certain local crypto exchange” accounted for 90% of the market share. 

As the fourth-largest economy in Asia, South Korea has experienced a notable crypto adoption rate. 

For instance, Koreans invested 52.8 trillion won, approximately $43.6 billion, in cryptocurrencies last year, according to data by the Financial Supervisory Service. This information was obtained from the five major crypto exchanges in the nation, namely, Bithumb, Gopax, Korbit, Coinone, and Upbit.  

Crypto investors in their 20s and 30s accounted for 36% of the share at 19.4 trillion won. 

Crypto exchanges in South Korea have been experiencing exponential growth as retail investors continue joining the digital asset market bandwagon. Therefore, commercial banks in the nation seek a share of this cake. 

Kim Kap-lae, a research fellow at the Korea Capital Market Institute, believes the incoming administration should revamp the regulatory system by looking at the characteristics of cryptocurrencies. 

He added:

“The lack of an information disclosure system has been preventing crypto investors from receiving necessary information.”

Upon taking office in May, South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol vowed to zero-tax crypto trading gains not exceeding 50 million won, approximately $40,000, similar to stock gains.

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Incoming South Korean President to Boost Crypto Adoption by Zero-Taxing Gains

Upon taking office in May, South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol vowed to zero tax crypto trading gains not exceeding 50 million won, approximately $40,000 similar to stock gains, according to Nikkei.

Deemed a crypto enthusiast, the president-elect emerged victorious in the tightly contested election held last week, and part of his crypto pledges entailed giving initial coin offerings (ICOs) the green light.

Crypto taxation has been a burning issue in South Korea since its parliament tabled a bill in 2020 where cryptocurrency gains would be slapped with a 20% gain. 

Furthermore, the crypto industry in the nation has been facing harsher and stricter administrative measures, given that nearly two-thirds of exchanges were forced to close shop with $2.6 billion in losses last year. 

Therefore, the crypto-friendly initiatives promised by Yoon Suk-yeol are seen as a stepping stone towards more adoption on South Korean soil.

The secretary-general of the Korean Blockchain Association, Yoon Seong-han, welcomed the pledges and stated:

“We definitely welcome his stance as he is confident about boosting the industry. As ICOs are banned now, we have no choice but to issue coins in Singapore and other countries. Ventures and startups will be able to raise money easily from investors (if the ban is lifted).”

The president-elect’s initiatives will open doors to more crypto opportunities as he understands the future, and it is unstoppable, according to Anndy Lian, the chairman of the Netherlands-based BigONE exchange.

Crypto investments are popular in South Korea, given that at least 15.2 million people in the nation have accounts with 24 cryptocurrency brokers, according to the country’s financial regulator. For instance, one in four Korean college students has invested in cryptocurrency based on a study carried out by part-time job information provider Alba Heaven.

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